Two students were moved from their dorm in Campion Hall to Mertz Hall on Sept. 13 due to the students’ concerns about mold from residual water following a major rainstorm on Sept. 11. The students, Raegann Leininger and Larkin Lee, said the problem wasn’t addressed by Loyola’s maintenance staff.
Leininger and Lee, first-year roommates, said their Campion dorm room carpet became damp with water following the flooding of 36 Loyola buildings on Sept. 11, when the city received approximately four inches of rain in less than 12 hours, The Phoenix previously reported.
Dr. Des’mon Taylor, director of residence life, wrote in an email to The Phoenix he can’t discuss specifics about the students’ situation due to privacy reasons, but wrote, “there are no records of mold in Campion.”
This isn’t the first instance of complaints about the living conditions in Campion. In December, The Phoenix reported a confirmed case of mold in Campion as well as other complaints of mice and ants.
Leininger, a visual communications major, reported noticing a puddle of water in the corner of her room on the morning of Sept. 11. Leininger said she immediately contacted the Resident Assistant (RA) on duty, who submitted a work request.
Lee, an exercise science major, said she and Leininger spoke with other members of campus staff including workers at the residence life building and campus maintenance. This includes Emilia Infante, the maintenance and residence life director of Campion and St. Joseph’s Hall.
“We had the RA put in a work request, the person at the front desk put in a work request,” Lee said. “I think we probably submitted a total of five work requests. Nothing happened.”
Infante did not respond to The Phoenix’s requests for comment.
Lee said she and Leininger had to find other living accommodations temporarily because the smell caused by the residual water was so bad.
“We started smelling this weird, moldy smell, so the second night we talked to the head of Residence Life at Campion,” Lee said. “We had to ask people if they would take us for that night.”
Leininger and Lee said it was because of a miscommunication with the university they were not provided with emergency housing. Their RA told them to sleep in other people’s rooms because they were under the impression the two roommates were offered emergency housing when they were not.
“If a students’ space was impacted and needed additional attention, there was a room change offered,” Taylor wrote in an email to The Phoenix.
Taylor did not respond to inquiries about the miscommunication Leininger and Lee said occurred.
Following the flooding on Sept. 11, all 200 reports of damage on campus had been examined by a cleaning crew, Kana Henning, senior associate vice president for facilities, previously told The Phoenix. Henning said the university would follow up with each of those damage reports to ensure they were properly cleaned afterwards.
When Henning was contacted about the students’ displacement, she said she was unable to comment because she was unaware of the relocation and said housing assignments and relocations do not fall under her purview.
On the third day of the work requests receiving no action from the university, Leininger’s parents called Infante.
Kimm Leininger, Raegann Leininger’s mom, said her and her husband spoke to Infante and were able to get the university to take action regarding their daughter’s situation. She expressed that she wanted to ensure her daughter’s voice was being heard.
“The [students] just didn’t seem to get anyone’s attention,” Kimm Leininger said of her daughter and her roommate. Kimm Leininger said after she contacted the university, they moved quickly to try to help the two students get into acceptable living arrangements.
Following these calls from Leininger’s parents, the two students were permanently moved from Campion to Mertz on Sept. 13.
Leininger’s parents said they were satisfied with how the problem was resolved and thankful for the staff that helped move the girls into their new dorm. However, Raegann Leininger said she was disappointed in the university’s response to their concerns.
“It was extremely stressful,” Raegann Leininger said. “I think the worst part was having that feeling of insignificance. Yes, other people did have flooding that was really bad — I saw the videos of that — but still it kind of felt bad that it took my parents calling for them to actually come into our room and see what the situation was.”
As they were moving out of Campion, Raegann Leininger and Lee said they were informed by maintenance staff the water that entered their room was the result of a leak in their wall.
Neither Raegann Leininger nor Lee were aware of anybody else who was moved out of their floor of Campion for the same issues of water leaking into their rooms.